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Master Momik

Master Momik

Innovator of his time

The famous Noravank monastery (XIII—XIV centuries) lies 122km to the southeast of Yerevan. It was designed by representative of Gladzor School of miniature painting Momik Vardapet, a master of fine arts, sculptor, painter and calligrapher.

PanARMENIAN.Net - Besides Noravank, he was the architect of Surb Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother) Church in Areni. According to some sources, he also worked on the design of Surb Grigor Lusavorich (Gregory the Illuminator) Church in Tatev.

There is little biographical information about Momik, whose activity covers the period from 1283 to 1339. Just four of his manuscripts – a collection of 1283-1284, Gospels of 1283, 1292 and 1302 and a Gospel of 1283 have been preserved out of a big number of miniatures created by him.

Momik had worked in Cilicia for a long time, adopting the style of the local artists and at the same time inspiring development of a new trend in miniature painting. Upon returning to Eastern Armenia, he appointed as a court architect, sculptor and miniaturist at Orbelian princes, who ruled in Syunik.

Momik’s miniatures are remarkable for harmonic color reproduction. The specific color solutions help unmistakably recognize the main characters, like Mary’s lilac veil and Joseph’s blue coat.

Mournfulness and Resurrection

Momik paid special attention to figures, their movements and gestures. His characters are expressive and full of drama. Architectural structures are presented as real buildings with consideration of human figure proportions.

Momik’s works reflect “the principles of perspective thinking”, what marks a new level of pictorial art. His miniatures have a composite solution that is meant to emphasize the significance of the depicted event.

He also had a talent for carving khachkars, one of which honors bishop of Syunik, his friend and patron Stepanos Orbelian (1306). Two of his khachkars notable for their proportions and superfine two-layer carving are kept in Holy Etchmiadzin.

A genius master and leading representative of medieval architecture, Momik, signed his name as Vardapet (master) and used to say about himself: “Your humble servant, least deacon, worthless scribe, good-for-nothing Momik.”

PanARMENIAN.Net / Tsets
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